Tsunamis

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The Oregon Coast is a beautiful area to travel and explore. A prime vacation destination, tourists and Oregonians flock to see its sandy beaches and splash in its cool waters. While visiting the coast, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings while traveling through the area. Watch for signs warning of Tsunami Hazard Zones and evacuation routes. 

 Tsunamis are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.

There may be more than one wave and the succeeding one may be larger than the one before. That is why a small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles away.

Know the Terms
  • Advisory - An earthquake has occurred which might generate a tsunami.
  • Watch - A tsunami was or may have been generated, but is at least two hours travel time to the area in Watch status.
  • Warning - A tsunami was, or may have been generated, which could cause damage; therefore, people in the warned area are strongly advised to evacuate.
If a Tsunami WATCH Is Issued
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, Coast Guard emergency frequency station, or other reliable source for updated emergency information. As the energy of a tsunami is transferred through open water, it is not detectable. Seismic action may be the only advance warning before the tsunami approaches the coastline.
  • Locate family members and review evacuation plans. Make sure everyone knows there is a potential threat and knows the best way to safer ground.
  • If you have special evacuation needs (small children, elderly people or persons with disabilities), consider early evacuation. Evacuation may take longer, allow extra time.
  • If time permits, secure unanchored objects around your home or business. Tsunami waves can sweep away loose objects. Securing these items or moving them inside will reduce potential loss or damage.
  • Be ready to evacuate. Being prepared will help you to move more quickly if a tsunami warning is issued.

If a Tsunami WARNING Is Issued
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, Coast Guard emergency frequency station, or other reliable source for updated emergency information. Authorities will issue a warning only if they believe there is a real threat from tsunami.
  • Follow instructions issued by local authorities. Recommended evacuation routes may be different from the one you use, or you may be advised to climb higher.
If you are in a tsunami risk area, do the following:
  • If you hear an official tsunami warning or detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate at once. A tsunami warning is issued when authorities are certain that a tsunami threat exists, and there may be little time to get out.
  • Get to higher ground as far inland as possible. Officials cannot reliably predict either the height or local effects of tsunamis. Watching a tsunami from the beach or cliffs could put you in grave danger. If you can see the wave, you are too close to escape it.
During a Tsunami
  • Turn on your radio to learn if there is a tsunami warning if an earthquake occurs and you are in a coastal area.
  • Move inland to higher ground immediately and stay there.
  • If there is noticeable recession in water away from the shoreline this is nature’s tsunami warning and it should be heeded. You should move away immediately.
After a Tsunami
  • Stay away from flooded and damaged areas until officials say it is safe to return.
  • Stay away from debris in the water; it may pose a safety hazard to boats and people.

 

 

The Hazard-Specific Information section was created using information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Red Cross.